I am becoming increasingly distressed over the college loan debacle in this country. Privately funded student loans have increased to 23% in the last few years, and students graduate owing nearly $80,000 (or more!) in loan debts. Now if you consider a four-year degree plan, that means students graduating this May began their college education in 2008, when our economy began its nosedive. Weren't they the least bit concerned about how they were going to pay those loans back?
When did we adopt the mindset that a college degree was the right of every child? Explain to me why every child should go to college. And show me where having a college degree is an automatic ticket to success in this country.
I know that for the offspring of the WWII generation, college was everyone's goal. A higher education meant a higher standard of living, and a long career in the field of your choice. But somewhere along the way, the return on that investment got way out of proportion. I, for one, have a degree in Journalism, specializing in Advertising. I was able to complete my degree plan in four years, but spent the first three years sitting in large lecture halls, being taught "the theory" of advertising. Finally, my last year, I got to "apply" all that theory in ONE class, but was told, "Don't worry about learning all the hands-on of design, there will be someone to do that for you. You are being trained to be an advertising "director". " What?!?!
Needless to say, I graduated with a degree that was virtually useless. I was lucky enough to go to work in a small advertising firm, where I started at the bottom and learned all those "details" that were a necessary part of my field. And I paid my government financed student loan back over a 10-year period. I never once thought of defaulting on it!
And I guess that's my point. Why would you continue to pour excessive amounts of money at an education that yields no guarantee of success for your future? Degrees in Sociology? Psychology? Have you paid attention to the news these last four years? What businesses are hiring in these areas? What skills do you bring to the table for those businesses that are hiring? Do you realize that you are not "owed" a job? And what's more, what were your parents thinking?
Besides that, a recent study revealed that 46% of college graduates are deficient in the areas of critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning. So what exactly have they been learning at these institutions of higher learning? And for those that argue you need college to expand on your reading, writing and speaking skills, I challenge you --- our public educational system is broken, and you can't correct those deficiencies in four more years of academic studies. Still others maintain that college teaches students to be more flexible, and "to think outside the box." If you mean the kind of crap (excuse my language!) they are learning from University professors such as Bill Ayers and Frances Fox Piven, then I say, "No, thank you!"
As far as I am concerned we, as a nation, need to return to vocational training-type programs, where students learn a trade or a craft; skills that will provide a service to their communities. And what's wrong with apprenticeships? I am encouraged to see more companies adopting internships, where they hire students and graduates in a trainee position, and grow them in the skills and aptitudes of their fields.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying college is wrong. Having that degree on your resume will certainly open doors for you. But right now, it seems the only doors worth opening are at small businesses, and they will value hard work, enthusiasm, and a desire to start at the bottom and work your way up, over a parchment with a university seal on it. Soon that parchment may only be worth the paper it's printed on. And we all know the value of what the government printing presses have been churning out lately, don't we?
Romans 13:8 "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law."